Tabs Out | Episode 197

Episode 197

Unholy Altar – s/t (self released)
Bloodsnake II (Apartment 421)
Megzbow and Vinegar Tom – Field Mulch (Sgarab Tapes)
Nicholas Langley – Reshapes (Third Kind Records)
Twig Harper – Ha Ha Laughing Record (Hanson)
Vaporizer – Daze of High Adventure (Children of the Abyss)
Vanity Angel – Spotless Victim (Crippled Sounds)
Mythical Creatures – Bamf! (Old Gold)
Temporal Waves – s/t (Linear Face/People Places)
Teacher’s Pet – Styrofoam Records: The Mixtape With No Shitty Songs comp (Styrofoam)
Birthday Girl – Styrofoam Records: The Mixtape With No Shitty Songs comp (Styrofoam)
Tony Bottoni – Two Sides (Past & Present)

Tabs Out || Track Premiere! The Electric Nature – Plastic Mind

Track Premiere! The Electric Nature – Plastic Mind

4.02.24 by Matty McPherson

Michael Potter is back on the road, in a big way. Hopefully, by the time you read this, you’ve realized he’s headed to your corner of the DIY-quadrant (it’s nice to see a date lined up with our pals at Drongo HQ). You also probably realized that Michael Potter has got something of a new-ish album of old-ish material that’s been gestating and waiting to be dropped on us in the year 2024. Material dates back to a 2009-2010 window, from a time where the studio was a “Dell computer, a half broken Squier strat, and an earbud turned microphone”. The result of the Plastic Mind sessions came up with something Already Dead has dubbed “krautrock-trip-hop hybrid with heavy psychedelia and electronica influences”.

You’ll see a fair bit of that truly pushed to the limits on Plastic Mind. Though, to my ears, nurtured on an endless ambient dystopia of dubstep at that time (and also, coming off of revisiting some old cuts to see how dire it was), you can forego the genre labels and just enjoy the simple fact that Michael Potter made at least one VERY heady EDM cut. There’s nothing to be ashamed of regardless the simple pleasures of good wubs and that endless serotonin rusn, especially when he’s far more interested in picking at the aura and happenings beyond the drop.

The title track we’re analyzing today is as close to EDM as the lad has come in a moment. There’s a tad of Goldfrapp electrotrash running through the wubs and guitar processed noise, alongside an absolute heartthrob pulse of a bass. When Potter shreds though, that’s where the cut seems to activate it’s real veracity and drive into a sound that’s not quite for the body but the stars. It has a sound that feels parallel to the Celtic Fusion Bandcamp Daily talked about earlier this year. Regional warping and re-mapping has always played a role in Potter’s work, but never to a degree this outright ecstatic. A decade and a half after recording, it only makes more sense and feels like another portal to the Michael Potter garden of Electric Nature.

Grab the Tape on the Road (see flyer above) with Michael, or pre-order it at Already Dead for release on 4/5.

Tabs Out | Low End Activist – Airdrop

Low End Activist – Airdrop

3.30.24 by Matty McPherson

There’s two ways you might want to try and grapple with a crash course in 90s rave/techno/”music you get sorted for Es and Whiz”. The first way is to become a crippling eBay slot machine addict waiting for a lot of techno tapes to emerge from the depths of one’s digital garage sale. They can show up and due to what I can only say is a lack of buyer imagination/desire to chase after these sounds, you can haul quite the lot for a 50 to 75 dollar bill if yr a smart cookie. You’ll end up with a lot of breadth, to say the least. Though what happens next is you end up hoarding tapes you forget to listen to (source: I got 30 of these I couldn’t even get myself to walk over and drop in the deck reading Raving over a couple dedicated sessions).

The second way is by making a wise move and studying the sonic roadmapping on Airdrop, the latest release from Low End Activist. The tape comes from Peak Oil, a vital dance LP oriented outpost, occasionally rearing its head towards the tape format when the time strikes (see 2022’s terrific euphoric sleight from Strategy). Brian Foote’s curation has always had an edge to it. After all he is a certified vet of a 90s midwest scene someone (other than Michaelangelo Matis) should write a book on. His work at Leech is tip-top in certain quips and hat-tips back to that time, but always quite of the current moment. It bounces back in the curation that chases after albums that both recall that time and place, while placing it distinctly in the now, crossed between full blown dance euphoria and full out electronic listening music. The 5am comedown of Strategy’s Unexplained Sky Burners; last year’s Purelink, a lost transmission from a dormant Black Dog Productions moniker that got trapped in the ether 25 years prior for being too ambient. Low End Activist meanwhile has come out with a smattering set of rave ghosts and pinpoints to happenings across England’s storied dance locales of the 90s. Another UR signal airdropped to yr aerials or the ferric.

It’s a nifty MO that gives Low End Activist real breadth and spine-chilling depth over the 41 minutes. The press release Foote sent indicates “the cuts take cues from key heroes of the “where were you in ‘92” set – Tango & DJ Ratty, Top Buzz, DJ SS, DJ Seduction, Dr. S Gachet – then fling them to the four corners”. Brief journeys to their discogs only made it abundantly clear how little of their sound was being imported to America via Profile or Sonic Records rave comps that have ended up in my bedroom. Would Low End Activist have fit snuggly on one of those comps of the era? Truthfully, he’d have stood in opposition there; perhaps finding a home somewhere snuggly on the Psycoustic Dillusion Conception 1. A killer 1993 comp from the UK that sees the continuum on the precipice of jungle but not quite ready to trade the airhorns for the bpms, the dub influence brimming all over.

Dub truly is the most important element to Low End Activist’s cuts on display. This is not paced like a set, but the dub process is stiff glue (I would reckon he’s got the Soul Jazz Box of Dub), precisely the thing that takes these cuts out of the past and into a 2024 deconstruction. These subtractions and echoes flows in and out without ever calling attention to itself. There’s a malleable feeling that results, the kind scratching an itch that doesn’t dissipate after you realize how well Airdrop nails its lockstep between 150 bpm mania and a softer, synthetic rave-psychosis. That kind of entanglement defines the C41 and its seamless directions to sprout from, enacting its own splatters of k-time. Every cut’s subtitle that indicates place in a way, sometimes the particular density of the room, the bpms, or some inbetween character of madness in the present trying to put yourself there. The title itself already implies a beam in.

The opening ten minutes, Waterstock and Yarnton Rd 2 Cassington, are reflections of space building in its ambient form. They leave in the synths, or a stray drum rhythm stay in; it’s close enough to feel the ghost or the pulse of the room, but at that eerie distance Strategy was catching on Fountain of Youth. Mayhem on Barton Hill brings out the ravier end of dub dimensions. There’s two types synths: dead-eye dubby synth strobes and even an airy footwork bridge, amongst layers of quixotic breakbeats and chase-laden vocal euphoria n’ airhorns skitters that leaves you shadowbox juking. Squeeze Your Lemon explores mix dynamics with vocals and a breakbeat cutting right in your face, but often hiding behind the fog of those airhorns or a radio-jammed vocal wub leaving you gobsmacked.

White Horse Hill is almost seamless transition, as much as a rhythm shift. Choppier on the dnb breaks to create a different syncopation. It tumbles down off that hill with another airy synth dive. Praha Hardcore is not entirely in jest, leaving a clear hardcore synth rhythm with meager percussive oomph and lotsa atmosphere. It’s just hefty bass bopping and weaving into a clear catalyst zone. Tango Skit is such the catalyst, itself the most rollicking, with an ample 150 BPM pleasure dome kickboxing to sprout. Hinksey Hardcore is a far more liquid outing than its Praha sibling, synths surfing under alien noise and machine clanking straight into a lost Rez boss battle. That trio leading up to the finale might be the true sleight of the tape, although I err towards the Cortina Outro as my favorite. After all, it is the most outright “dub rave”, laid back on its vocal sample imploring movement, yet ever building in its focused burst of intensity. It feels sinister and less an invitation to listen in than to truly get moving. That’s about all I’ve been capable of doing for the last 40 odd minutes, skittering into a rhythmic pulse.

Tape Sold Out at Peak Oil…check out distros and retailers.

Tabs Out | Episode 196

Episode 196


Universal Energy – Space Art Music comp (Perina Stereo)
Aaron Dilloway – Freak-Out Your Friends (Hanson)
Pig Destroyer – Prowler in the Yard (Relapse)
Shadow Dungeon – Pathways To​.​.​. The Primordial Blackness (Out of Season)
Omar Ahmad – Inheritance (AKP)
Arovane – Miniaturen (Puremagnetik)
Diurnal Burdens & Brandstifter – Merh Abstand (sPLeeNCoFFiN)
Tony DeNicola Band – s/t (self released)
Tom Dissonance – Delaware (Amoebic Industries)
KMET – Smrt Feudalizmu (Cosmic Brood / Kletva Crne Ruže)
Absolute Key – Edasi split (Maniac Mutant Music)

Tabs Out | David Nance – 2 Tapes: David Nance & Mowed Sound and Shameless Kiss

David Nance – 2 Tapes: David Nance and Mowed Sound & Shameless Kiss

2.28.24 by Zach Mitchell

I love an artist with a confusing discography. There is no joy quite like listening to an album from a new-to-me band, opening up Discogs, and being confronted with a litany of tapes, 7”s, and deleted Bandcamp entries. The ephemera ends up telling a story of merch tables and order pages of yore – tales of ultra prolific artists who understand their way around a Tascam machine or Garageband. David Nance follows in the path of Yo La Tengo and Lou Barlow on his way to creating a confusing, wonderful legacy.

In the last three months, Nance has released David Nance & Mowed Sound, a full fledged studio album on Third Man Records featuring his live band, and Shameless Kiss, a Bandcamp only cassette release on Western Records. Shameless Kiss is a full album cover of The Cure’s classic Disintegration that replaces the synthesized strings and glorious moping with homespun banjo. Western Records, as best I can tell, is Nance’s label for releasing almost exclusively short run tapes. He’s covered albums like Beatles For Sale and Goat’s Head Soup in his signature style and released them alongside stray live albums. Previous studio albums, both under his name and under the band name David Nance Group (somehow different from David Nance & Mowed Sound), have been released on labels like Trouble In Mind and Petty Bunco. And all of that is before you start getting into the self released cassettes and the 7”s. 

That’s all well and good, but what does this motherfucker actually sound like? It’s a hard question to answer. There are multiple Davids – Neil Young-esque guitar shredder David, campfire folkie David, hunkered down chooglin’ and groovin’ David, cassette deck master David, etc. David Nance and Mowed Sound mostly stays within the folkin’ and chooglin’ vein with high end indie label production. It’s a bit more restrained than his previous studio albums, focusing more on the quiet moments in between the storms of guitar than his previous works.

A sizable chunk of the songs on David Nance and Mowed Sound have shown up previously in his discography. My favorite song on the album, and the one that’s gone through the most drastic transformation, is “Credit Line.” This version, labeled “Variant 5” (though I can only find two other studio versions of the song) gets transformed from a Flying Nun style lo-fi jangle rocker (Pulverized and Slightly Peaced) and a humid psych-folk tune (Meanwhile, his 7” debut for Third Man Records) to subdued boogie with sinewy guitar leads running throughout. “Cure vs Disease” gets a facelift from a murky psych excursion (Basket Music w/Gun Outfit, a release I did not know existed until writing this) and a noisy folk jam (September 20, 2020, maybe my favorite David Nance release) to a 70s slide guitar head nodder. The idea of Nance as a folk rocker troubadour is not a new one in his discography, but sounding this hi-fi definitely is. It’s his highest profile album to date, so why not go big instead of going home?

Instead of presenting every side of Nance at once, David Nance & Mowed Sound selects a smattering of would-be greatest hits, gussies them up, and presents them alongside a handful of new tracks that tie them together. The idea here is clearly to introduce new fans to his work, but is this the place I’d suggest someone start with Nance? Honestly, no. The shaggy dog Crazy Horse style jamming on Peaced and Slightly Pulverised might be more advisable, but then again you would completely miss out on the softer spoken impulses that this album is pulling from. Maybe there isn’t a great place to start. This record has great songs – dig the harmonies on the opening stomper “Mock the Hours” and the infections, simmering, ouroboros groove on “Cut It Off” – but there’s a bit more restraint here than I’d like. I’m hearing ripping solos and soaring vocals (probably from my own familiarity with Nance as a live act) that just aren’t here. I like the album, but I’m left wanting a little more. Nance’s strengths lie in his ability to be a choose-your-own-adventure artist. My adventure lies elsewhere.

Shameless Kiss is one of Nance’s most exciting releases and his best covers album to date. Nance is absolutely fearless when playing fast and loose with one of the most seminal rock albums of all time and the high risk pays high rewards. Whether it’s replacing the toms in “Closedown” with the driving drums of “Out of Step” or turning “Lullaby” into the depressing alt-country classic “Dinner,” Nance isn’t afraid to reconfigure the established canon into something new. Nance teases some new wave out of “Disintegration” on “Shameless Kiss” by upping the tempo and accentuating the chiming guitars. The familiar becomes new again. Sonically, this is the mode in which I enjoy Nance the most – half obscured by fuzz, losing himself in a riff, and calling back to something you think you might’ve heard once or twice somewhere distant.

It’s tough to review Shameless Kiss without just gushing about Disintegration, but if you’ve ever wondered what a midwestern Robert Smith would sound like, you have your answer. Your opinion on this album may depend on how repulsive that idea is to you. Disintegration is instantly recognizable not just from Smith’s yowl, but from the distinctive reverb soaking every track. It’s an album that completely drowns in its own melodrama. Nance makes the bold choice of replacing it completely with tape hiss, substituting Smith’s widescreen sadness with a stark loneliness. The result not only makes it a great The Cure covers album, but a piece that stands alone in Nance’s vast discography.

I may prefer Shameless Kiss to David Nance & Mowed sound, but this is one of the best parts about being a David Nance fan, or really any artist with a discography full of rapid left turns. If I’m not in tune with the folk rock on David Nance & Mowed Sound, I can dive back deeper into the well and come back with a low fidelity version of a classic. I can appreciate the clean cut big ticket indie label version of Nance while still hoarding my scuzzy tapes. Maybe the campfire-come-to-life sound on Staunch Honey will connect with me more. Or maybe I’ll dig into the blown out rock and roll with Negative Boogie. All of these disparate pieces add up to one of the most compelling artists in America today. David Nance & Mowed Sound  and Shameless Kiss are just two pieces of an ever evolving puzzle.

Tapes sold out at Third Man & David Nance personal source!

Tabs Out | Episode 195

Episode 195


Ryan Richard & Erol Ulug – MKULTRA Volume 1 (Ephem Aural)
Nate Scheible – Or Valleys And (Outside Time)
Slum Lord – Rolling Brownout (No Rent)
Brume – No Zen Machine (No Rent)
Glitter in the Dark – Twistvisions Container 2 for Vast Grimm (Infinite Black)
Matthias Puech – Synthetic Bird Music compilation (Mappa)
When the Coyote Eats the Rat – Desert Moon of Karth OST (Fantasy Audio Magazine)
Deionarra – Candle 3 compilation (Fantasy Audio Magazine)
MJ Guider – Youth and Beauty (Modemain)
Donjo – Do You Remember (self released)

Tabs Out | Phil Geraldi – AM/FM USA

Phil Geraldi – AM/FM USA

1.05.24 by Matty McPherson

The designed in France (made in China) We Are Rewind cassette player is the object Santa and his merry elves imagined I would need most in 2024. For the record, I used to use a Walkman WX-197, then swapped to an early 90s SX-F39. I quite fancy those late 80s/early 90s Sony models (especially sports) on account of the auto reverse, radio, and timer features. Terrific situational value, especially the radio on account of the static-laden presets you can find solace in.

I suppose though, that We Are Rewind believe that a 2020s portable cassette player should sacrifice those elements in lieu of one boxy-ass rectangle designed to elicit nostalgia with the charging battery potency of a 2012 iPod touch. The single side tape head is clean though, and it can record a mixtape (not that it has the microphone necessary for bootleg live performances). It would be a tremendous paperweight if not for its lone saving grace: connection to bluetooth headphones/speakers. Wow! Now I can listen to analog golden age classic Paid in Full on the shitty speaker Cox Communications sent my family to appease us for not cutting the chord! I will contend, it can be revelatory to take insular listening habits and move them towards bluetooth connection.

Such was the case on New Year’s Day, boozed up after a couple $5 pints and fiddling with the bluetooth, lamenting that lack of radio transmission. When suddenly, San Diego-based cadaver and “iterant journeyman” Phil Geraldi came through the speaker with a well-timed, well strung out answer to my wish; static and washed out pedal steel with the cadence of channel hopping on my dead walkman. AM/FM USA is one of the few tapes dropping from the ever-omnivorous Not Not Fun label’s 1/5/24 batch, and is an immediate standout, potentially even an epiphany. To call it a “cassette’s cassette” would be meaningless, but Geraldi is at one of the most intriguing crossroads of underground American sounds and tape fidelity I’ve genuinely heard writing about tapes for 42 odd months here. He’s made tapes for the format dating back to 2009, but this is really top shelf ferric.

AM/FM USA is a two-piece longform tape of “radio static, pedal steel, crickets, and great plains haze, the music moves between lost highway melancholia and truck stop concrète”. I was quite thrilled by that last term and what it seemed to imply, especially when the Wire took time with Geraldi for their Dec/Jan double issue to really go in the weeds about what makes someone come up with that lil’ turn of phrase. It’s rare that I hear about a San Diego (transplant) artist making sound quite like this. And Geraldi, a mixed-media artist, has been around in a storied capacity of his own way supplanting off of odd jobs, the open highway, and noise; sometimes all in the same mode that AM/FM USA takes to lucidly.  There’s a consistent melody or rhythm, ever droning in and out of range. Both pieces slide, never not foregoing omnipresent feeling of right now, as a result of the wavy gliding tactic and serendipitous shifts.

An idea for this release seems to date back a decade plus or more back during his time as the cathode noise project Mystics in Bali, coordinating shows at the Arcata Mex N’ Wow. A 2014 interview, one of the rare communiques from the illusive Geraldi, discussed a project entitled “Radio America”. The project was visual as well, quite industrial and terror driven while “using only AM/FM radios as source instruments,” that Geraldi resonated with. He cited “the inherent right-now feeling which grounds it as moldable source material in an interesting way, and attaches to it an odd feeling of social comfort,” planning to “bend it [that distinct social comfort] into a meditative, minimized version of itself.” Geraldi website, filled with a decade’s worth of art videos, surveillance portraits, and other ephemera, is invoked through the way the AM / FM USA can suddenly tip into those bleak zones. It’s the truck stop concrète in action.

I’ve heard other radio tapes from folks like Bridgette Bardon’t & Lia Kohl, but none havever given me the immediacy that I had on my first listen; from fiddling with a bluetooth speaker as if it was a radio tuner, itself granting a parallel, if not uncanny feeling. Although, AM/FM USA is bolder and more encompassing in the feeling Geraldi harnesses from the static and dead air atmosphere, perhaps the most pervasive work I’ve seen giving tape-label americana music a proper link to Hank & Slim. Yes, there is quite a bit of pedal steel that absolutely aches. The whole thing has a cohesive, lo-fi veneer that repeatedly crests and yearns for the highway while also acknowledging exactly what it feels like. The space of suspense radio static, as much as the invocation of the truck stop/gas station can be, if only for a glimpse; a universal happening of USA highway culture. So much of the tape itself is washed out in that static it sounds like tires on asphalt, creating waves of endless terrain to lumber through until its pure heartland anywhere at any time at all; melancholia trying to fade away in the advert for this year’s truck model. Perpetually sepia toned, in peripheral blur. A trance odyssey for certain, in how it begs to ponder time not as an imagined past or a destination to get to, but that inherent right here, right now.

I suppose we could stop here, but I suppose this tape has me worked up because of excursion in music from last year. In the realm of “2023 advancements in identifying and codifying” music, ‘ambient americana’ became something of a vague buzzword and area of forensic analysis many folks I talk shop with online were attuned to. I was a bit surprised, mostly because like with ‘ambient jazz’ about two years prior, there had seemed to be a strange lack of immediate music forum/rym discussion regarding genre forefathers (Windham Hill & ECM) and current tape scene players (Full Spectrum, Astral Editions, Island House,  Patient Sounds, Cached, Moon Glyph, amongst basically every German Army & Peter Kris release known to man, et al) have been dabbling in. I’ve asked folks about their feelings on this term and they both are at similar points: this is a long, ongoing conversation that they are just merely taking part of, and to codify what they (amongst any other artists really here) are doing as a scene mistakes the trees for the forest—especially when field recordings, haptics, and a personal imagining of a space (and the emotions you take from it) feel so much more tantamount to what this realm of music can come to champion.

And it’s extremely easy to as soon as you find yourself playing the umpteenth ambient pedal steel recording, to want to bludgeon yourself with the tape deck or speaker box. Codification and typecasting to that realm of these works doesn’t continue this conversation that’s been quite lively already over the past 4 decades; the one attuned to “sonic roadmapping” that anything from dub techno to flickered out Americana can tap into. Geraldi’s AM/FM USA is able to get there, often by not pushing pedal steel to the foreground, just letting the static become desire lines that spread out across the big sky voids lends. It feels like a real eureka for what sounds labeled somewhere between ambient X Americana could be striving for; melancholia trying to let go in the radio bump for this year’s truck model.

Edition of 50 Sold Out at Not Not Fun; Check Their Midhaven Distro or Discogs

Tabs Out | Episode 194 / Top 200 of 2023

Episode 194 / Top 200 of 2023

1 Amy Cutler- Sister Time (Strategic Tape Reserve)

1 and a Half: Various Artists – Synthetic Bird Music (Mappa)

​I think I felt a small piece of me die when Bandcamp started commissioning a round-up of the best field recordings. Or maybe a part of me clicked into overdrive as I kept thinking of what it meant to make music from field recordings. If there’s a term that dominated the non-tape music & personal journeys I was taking, then “sonic roadmapping” might as well have best encompassed it; the way an album can encompass a time and place, based around details not always manipulated or of the source. The best moment with a non-contemporary cassette listen I had this year was being delirious in-and-out of sleep on red eyes to and from Knoxville, TN before & after Big Ears, listening to Selected Ambient Work Volume II. It really is quite the stunner when hypnagogia is attainable. There’s a world there that exists only on that album, sometimes more inviting than others.

Field recordings were not on my mind that often, I’ll admit. But then when assembling this list, after a tumultuous year where forces that had nurtured the tape and its curatorial labels had nearly imploded (and still may turn against us), it seemed that there was something going on in the fringe space between “songs” and “life memories” and “tangible places that may exist” that these particular Top 25 seemed to be embellishing. Some noise, some aching ghostly americana, some bio-ambient straight from Excursions in Ambience, some drones in just intonation, a many breakbeats, a mix-tape celebrating the scene…amongst field recordings of a peculiar manner.

I think Z. Emerson of Doom Trip told it bluntly and truthfully to me in November 2023 baked off our asses on a call about what the Top of the Top 200 should be and reflect: the ultimate stunt tape that embellishes the format and also has that particularly ooey gooey energy that no one can match. 101 Notes on Jazz may be the best realization or this. Or last year’s Moth Cock 3xCass extravagance.

I thought that might mean Marc Masters’ loving overview and curatorial hat-tips on the book and cassette companion of High Bias was that answer. A lot of roads lead to that book and the love Masters laid down in the book (barring a massive slab of alternative facts that we cleared up on the podcast). But then, I found myself on a plane. I found myself up late gnawing over the list. In fact, it’s only in these final hours before we sit down that in whatever god willing state this is, I am committed to saying that for the first time ever in the history of a Top 200, there was a tie. One between the smartest anti-fielding recording pieces of music I heard all year.

Dr. Amy Cutler’s Sister Time feels like the release Strategic Tape Reserve had been promising it would unveil after Bellectronic. Not quite a reissue, but an uncovering and deft display of archival love, Dr. Cutler had found her own void zones that seemed to be inherently contemplating her personal history with tape & work with film into personal memory or fantasized alternate histories. It felt like Strategic Tape Reserve promise had somehow been achieved in a new thinking way that usurped the wry, cunning Listening by Learning without quite losing the eye-winks and shenanigans of early catalog heaters like DJ VLK or Shopland. There is a real sense of wonder, haunting, and the sublime to Cutler’s vision: a true flow state that many tapes I heard this year were not atuned to. Compositional bliss.

Synthetic Bird Music is an overdue hat tip to Mappa (a label like Warm Winters, I’ve often adored but been late to championing), but then I remember they haven’t done something like this. Risiograph 2xCass of various artists (often from Eastern Europe in a capacity that is new and exciting for me to explore) being tasked to create “synthetic bird music” and arriving at the end of a continuum that connects labels and eras like Columbia Masterworks, Windham Hill, Lovely Music, New Albion, Mego, Touch, Orange Milk, Hausu Mountain, Full Spectrum into a true “goo age” opus. Some of this exists in Morton Subtonick’s Silver Apples or Noah Creshevsky’s Hyperreal musics, or David Tudor 1970s composer music played at the Kitchen. It has the same deep listening character of Oliveros, amongst dashes of the pastoralism of Windham Hill. It is completely in line with the territory of heavy drone and bliss out land art that No Rent/Full Spectrum/Reserve Matinee have played to. The 32 cuts here flow into each other with the lucidity, creating symphonies of synthetic birds that babble and bobble in an uncanny, engrossing manner. Heavy on bass and hi-fi freak outs, but also welcoming to newcomers. It is, everything (one form of) tape music has been stumbling towards.

All the while, there’s an unusually stacked under card from old favorites, new players, and anywhere else in between that took us in our own crazy directions! We hope you’ll find something nice on this list to geek out over!

2 Mattie Barbier – This Is What People Think Mountains Look Like (Dinzu Artefacts)

3 Heejin Jang – Me and the Glassbirds (Dom Trip)

4 Clang Quartet – A Slow Death for the Peacemaker (No Rent)

5 The Entire Vibe of High Bias & the Music From The Book (Ya Boy Marc Masters)

6 hyphyskazerbox – Manic In Your House (Suite 309)

7 Nyokabi Kariuki – Resonant Body (cmntx records)

8 Ryley Walker & Jeff Tobias – It’ll Sound Different Once We Get Some Bodies In The Room (Husky Pants Records)

9 Larry Wish – Capricorn Sun (Orange Milk)

10 Ivan Cunningham’s Freedom Pie – One Eye Closed/One Leg Lifted (Bumpy)

11 Cunningham / Shiroishi / Ackerley / Smith – [five lines indecipherable] (Profane Illuminations)

12 DJ K – Panico No Submundo (Nyege Nyege Tapes)

13 V/A – FTAM-100 (FTAM Productions)

14 Quintelium – Moonwaves (Ephem Aural)

15 Lorenz/Reis – Horizontal Hold (Bizarro Warrior)

16 tondiue – Harvest (syn syn)

17 Fire-Toolz – I Am Upset (Hausu Mountain)

18 Andy Loebs – Hyperlink Anamorphosis (JOLT MUSIC)

19 Wide Color – W I D E C O L O R (Oxtail Recordings)

20 Tujiko Noriko – Crépuscule I & II (Editions Mego)

21 Various Artists – High Bias (Backwoodz Studios)

22 Strategy – Graffiti In Space (Constellation Tatsu)

23 yara asmar – synth waltzes and accordion laments (Hive Mind Records)

24 Westelaken – I Am Steaming Mushrooms (Self Release)

25 Synthfreq – Vol. 1 (Orange Mik)

26 Kali Malone – Does Spring Hide its Joy (XKatedral)

27 ichiko aoba – sketch tour tape (self released)

28 Swamp-Ass – Disasterpiece (WereGnome)

29 Mike Nigro – Low Light (Oxtail Recordings)

30 Yellow Swans – Left Behind (Yellow Swans Archive)

31 Skull Mask – Iká (Raash Records)

32 Eniks Cave – Seven Heavenly Palaces (Drongo)

33 Lexie Mountain – I Am Here To Win One Million Dollars (self released)

34 Emergency Group – Inspection of Cruelty (Island House)

35 Andrew Osterhoudt – Out Together (Geographic North)

36 Cop Funeral – Jake (Already Dead)

37 OMS – Illeism & No Consolation (Suite 309)

38 Manoir Molle -intéressant (Cudighi Records)

39 Dave Scanlon – Taste Like Labor (Whatever’s Clever)

40 Andreas Brandal – Trapdoor Curcifix (Lighten Up Sounds)

41 Embarker – Traced Out (Send Help)

42 Quantum Waterfall – s/t (Fluere Tapes)

43 Mildred Bonk – Skeeg: The Locomotive Powers Of Death (Bad Cake)

44 Tim Gick – Body Without Organs (THE ENTIRE WORK ETHIC OF NO RENT RECORDS!)

45 ABADIR – Melting (Drowned By Locals)

46 Burning Plastic Blues Band – Spiritual Latency (Metaphysical Barbeque)

47 Another Dark December – Anthropocene ’ s Apocalypse and Other Various Anxieties (Histamine Tapes)

48 The Drin – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom (Future Shock)

49 M. Sage & Zander Raymond – Parayellowgram (Moon Glyph)

50 Lia Kohl – The Ceiling Reposes (American Dreams)

51 Roxanne Nesbitt / Ben Brown / Marielle Groven – Play Symbiotic Instruments (Small Scale Music)

52 Kouns & Weaver – Children of Cimmeria (Unifactor)

53 Lo-Tek Larry – 500 Beats (100% Bootleg Cassette Tape Company)

54 Kid Millions and Sarah Bernstein – Forrest Park Live (Island House)

55 Illusion of Safety – Organ Choir Drone (NO PART OF IT)

56 India Sky – Somewhere Over The Mystic Moon (Ratskin Records)

57 Shayna Dunkelman & Javier Areal Vélez – Miru Mira (Atlantic Rhythms)

58 Retrogoblin / low cunning – split (Weregnome Record)

59 Sam Kazakgascar – Long Tones of August (Trouble in Mind)

60 Sungod – Starscape (Crash Symbols)

61 The End, I Love You! – Ghost Chase Sequence: Moongrazing (FTAM Productions)

62 Moth Drakula – Live in Purgatory (Swampland Press)

63 type/token- Riparian Zone (Traced Objects)

64 Parish / Potter – On and Off (\\NULL|ZØNE//)

65 Ki Oni – An Evening Stroll to the Garden Party (Geographic North)

66 Peter Kris / Hyacinth. – Swimming In A Sea Of Sand (Suite 309)

67 German Army – Biloxi (Soil)

68 JOBS – Soft Sounds (Ramp Local)

69 TIE: Dustin Wong – Perpetual Morphosis (Hausu Mountain) + Dusting Wong/Brin – Textures II (Leaving)

70 Lisa Lerkenfeldt – Shell Of A City (Room 40)

71 Spelunkers – Music From the Widow Jane (Tymbal Tapes)

72 Jackson Greenberg – The Things We Pass On Through Our Genes (cmntx records)

73 Nandele & A-Tweed – Xigubo (Jollies)

74 Amber Meulenijzer – Sabb Fanfare (Edições CN)

75 Traysh – Shady Favorites (Husky Pants Records)

76 Seawind of Battery & ragenap – Chaos Life Preserver (Eiderdown)

77 Hoshina Anniversary – HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう (Constellation Tatsu)

78 Derek Monypenny – Born Free (Personal Archives)

79 Davide Cedolin – Ligurian Pastoral (Island House)

80 Jim Rats – Perfuser (No Rent)

81 PCRV – S/T (Fluxus Montanat)

82 Heroic Viking – Ragnarok (Mondes Sonores)

83 TIE: Tongue Depressor + John McCowen – Blame Tuning (Full Spectrum) & Tonge Depressor & Weston Olencki – Don’t Tell No Tales Upon Us (Dinzu Artefacts)

84 Tee Vee Repairmann – What’s On TV (Wartmann Inc)

85 b.michaael – Gore (Orange Milk)

86 Stefana Fratila – I want to leave this Earth behind (Not Not Fun/Halocline Trance)

87 Crosslegged – Another Blue (self released)

88 Lanayah – I’m Picking Lights in a Field (Drongo)

89 Whettman Clements – Koppen (Strategic Tape Reserve)

90 Circuit Diagram – Werkschau (Crash Symbols)

91 Drazek Fuscaldo / Thymme Jones – Wings Dipped in Fire (Feeding Tube Records)

92 Hudson Glover – Solar Surfing: Music From The Film ‘Crystal Oscillators’ (Hotham Sound Recordings)

93 Sonic Youth – Live in Brooklyn 2011 (Silver Current Records)

94 weareforests – Where There Is No Ending (Seil Records)

95 Ddrome – Power City (Cruel Nature)

96 Spherule Trio- There Will Always Be Instruments (Orb Tapes)

97 Mute Duo – 5amSky (Astral Editions)

98 Carmen Jaci – Happy Child (Noumenal Loom)

99 TIE: Armand Hammer – We Buy Diabetic Test Strips (Fat Possum) & billy woods/Kenny Segal – maps (Backwoodz Studios)

100 Arthur Russell – Picture of Bunny Rabbit (Audika Records)

101 SPLLIT – Infinite Hatch (Tough Gum USA)

102 Dr Slimer – Slimerhuasca (self released)

103 Omar Ahmad – Inheritance (AKP Recordings)

104 Staraya Derevnya – blue forty​-​nine (blue tapes)

105 Lula Asplund – Unravels by a Thread (Drongo)

106 Alex Jacobsen – Apartment 2021 / Commutes 2022 (Tymbal Tapes)

107 Müller / Doskocz / Gordoa – Aural Accidents (Tripticks Tapes)

108 Drew Gardner – The Return (Astral Spirits)

109 Midi Janitor – Bulk Order (Hotham Sound Recordings)

110 Blasco/Baron – Travesia/The Matrix Split (Full Spectrum)

111 Ian MacPhee – Distance (Already Dead)

112 Noah Klein – Zion (Moon Glyph)

113 N. Hertzberg – Jazz Hands (Personal Archives)

114 Farcaster – Brain Machine (Old Stories)

115 YOCKO O.NE feat. prinz-ip – O . H . E. [action] b​/​w R​.​I​.​FF. [minox] (superpolar Taïps)

116 Uton and Bardo Todol – Bday Lampazo Trompeta (Steep Gloss)

117 Steffan De Turck / Howard Stelzer – Private/Public (Falt)

118 Omni Gardens – Golden Pear (Moon Glyph)

119 Cereal Banter – Kinder Blips (self released)

120 The Gate – Scum (Tubapede)

121 Various Artists – Wrhythm & Fhrasing (Drongo)

122 Names Divine – The Crystal Arms! (Trouble in Mind)

123 Joseph Allred – For the Fallen Dawn (Island House)

124 Windy Boijen – In A Sense (Ephem Aural)

125 Emergency Group – Venal Twin (Centripetal Force)

126 diana starshine – fairy pop (Orange Milk)

127 Mukqs – Stonewasher (Hausu Mountain)

128 Black Button – Rejoice (Anthems of the Undesirable)

129 The HIRS Collective – We’re Still Here (Get Better Records)

130 Alex Homan – The Great American Hot Dog Tour (self release)

131 First Tone – (modemain)

132 DJ Smiley Bobby – Dhol Tasha Drum Exercises from Maharashtra (Nyege Nyege Tapes)

133 Cole Pulice – If I Don’t See You in the Future, I’ll See You in the Pasture (self release)

134 Danie Fishkin – Dark Listening (Tripticks Tapes)

135 Dorian Wood & Thor Harris – You are clearly in perversion (Astral Editions)

136 Monokle – Ultraflowers (Constellation Tatsu)

137 x.y.r. – Memory Tapes (Not Not Fun)

138 Hualun/ Bleed Air – GhostEP / Dead Man Split (Superpolaris Tapis)

139 Massimo Magee – The Contemporary Jazz Clarinet Of Massimo Magee And His Rhythm (Falt)

140 The Royal Arctic Institute – From Coma to Catharsis (Already Dead)

141 Midnight Minds – Angsty Bodies (Tone Deaf Tapes)

142 Mallwalker – Danger (Tetryon Tapes)

143 Space Camp – Gold Star (self released)

144 MANAS & E.M.M. – At House Unamerican (Radio Khiyaban)

145 Carlo Costa & John McCowen – pianissimo etc (Tripticks Tapes)

146 David Donohoe – Fen (Dinzu Artefacts)

147 Seth Chrisman, Andrew Weathers, & Cody Yantis – After Amarillo (Falt)

148 Organized Cream – s/t (Swaylor)

149 Akasha System – Ancient Path Complete (100% Silk)

150 En Attendant Ana – Principia (Trouble in Mind)

151 Ethan W.L. – The Pink House (Drongo)

152 Wobbly – Additional Kids (Hausu Mountain)

153 You are the Garden – Six Leaf Clover (self release)

154 Zebularin – Nachtarchiv (Cosmic Winnetou)

155 Torture Agenda – Catalyst for the New Homo Sapien (Swimming Faith)

156 Bad Trips – Drink the Ooze (Already Dead)

157 The Electric Nature – Old World Must Die (\\NULL|ZØNE//)

158 Endless Fog – Waiting Forever (Self Release)

159 Streamweaver – Firesongs (Aural Canyon)

160 Lucie Vítková – Cave Acoustics (Mappa)

161 Obelisk Ruins – Thought-Vision-Doubt (Katuktu Collective)

162 Coach Campa & Aaron Arguellp – Weekend Satanists (Already Dead)

163 Saapato – Somewhere Else (Aural Canyon)

164 Feast of the Epiphany – Signifcance (Strategy of Tension)

165 Ki Oni – A Leisurely Swim To Everlasting Life (AKP Recordings)

166 Slit Throats – Joshi Noise Worship: Sky Tiger Crosses Void (self release)

167 Morgan Garrett – Extreme Fantasy (Orange Milk)

168 salad – Riverside Ishiyama (Dinzu Artefacts)

169 K/S/R / Wind Tide – split (Physical)

170 Meadow Argus – This Old Rotten Barge (self released)

171 Massage- Soft as Snow (Jollies)

172 Hourloupe – Three Nights in the Wawayanda (Tymbal Tapes)

173 Charles Lareau – Statis (Public Eyesore)

174 McKain/Murray/Radichel/Weeks – Live At Century (Personal Archives)

175 Hartle Road – MAXX II (K/perrenialdeath)

176 Wolf Dad – Wolf Dad Must Die! (Ephem Aural)

177 Iku Sakan – OMNITOPOEIA (Sensorik Verden/Iriai Verlag)

178 Euglossine – Bug Planet is the Current TImeline (Hausu Mountain)

179 Water Shrew Trio – s/t (Eiderdown)

180 Pan Cyan – Emotional Indulgence (Noumenal Loom)

181 Wife Eyes – Regna Vita (Strategic Tape Reserve)

182 Booker Stardru & Chris William – relay (cached media)

183 MJ Lenderman & the Wind – Live and Loose! (Dear Life)

184 Shõ – Elsewheres (Never Anything)

185 Grant Evans – Ragweed Chess Museum Volume One (Hooker Vision)

186 Új Bála – Letters Are Weird To Look At (self released)

187 Multiform Palace- New World Harmony (Specious Arts)

188 Être Ensemble – CLOSE / SPACE (Katuktu Collective)

189 Anal Drill- Peeping Tom (No Rent)

190 Captain / Magill / Wood – Sliding Man / Live at The Monkey Pub (Weird Cry Records)

191 Christopher Robert Duncan – Seasons (self released)

192 Merzbow – Hatomatsuri (Dinzu Artefacts)

193 Tamarisk – Plays a Word for Wind (Astral Editions)

194 Prokharchin – Ardea Herodias (Tone Deaf Tapes)

195 Yui Onodera and Takashi Kokubo – Thousand Bells (Constellation Tatsu)

196 Clear Thing – Everywhere I Go (The Lapsis Group)

197 Adriana Camacho & Stefan Christoff – Años y Minutos (Moon Villain)

198 Miorii – Nature’s Way (Hush Hush Records)

199 Sam Gas Can – II (Crash Symbols)

200 Mr. Tim AKA Ya Boy Timmy 400 Hundo – The Celebration (Hausu Mountain)

Tabs Out | yara asmar – synth waltzes and accordion laments

yara asmar – synth waltzes and accordion laments

12.22.23 by Matty McPherson

Over a shepherd’s pie dinner yesterday evening, my uncle lamented the state of the southern Virginia shopping malls. Many are talking about this, mind you; it’s an American tragedy! Every giant closed space (except Virginia Beach’s!) seems to have died sometime around 2005 and remained in a decaying, decrepit undead state. It is only here where the remaining organs American mall seems to find its own bizarre afterlife, not as a horror level or YouTube video you stumble into 2 double cognacs deep, but as yet an almost-bazaar. More a collection of functional dollar table of junk and records, rented out by suburban dead stuff collectors. “Eclectic” nor “hectic” describes the waltz one makes inside these near-squats; records and memorabilia of a local populace, not farmers nor urbanites, are the echoes on display here. It was only here, did my uncle seem to find himself looking at himself 30 odd years prior; a photo of a blue honda taken from a track meet. He could not verify it, but even if he could, why would I call out the man’s gumption?

The puppeteer, yara asmar, had a more reverent variant of this experience earlier this year, relayed in the liner notes her latest brilliant release, synth waltzes and accordion laments. In March, the Beirut based artist found herself at an artist’s residency in Black Forest, Germany with her grandmother’s green accordion. Originally, it belonged to her grandmother’s brother, but he was not one to play it much; thus the instrument took to her grandmother, before then the attic of the family house. Only in the past decade had asmar taken to the accordion, amassing a library of elliptical “Home Recordings”. Frugal recordings interweaving synths, decommissioned music boxes and toy pianos, amidst life recordings. After being informed the accordion was only made minutes away, in the town of Trossingen, asmar soon found herself staring directly at an old ledger revealing a date of manufacturing and shipment in October of 1955; two green accordions, one headed to ‘Libanon’. A score for unexpected genealogy.

As much as a remarkable antecedent. One that tugs at roots and the sense of place that can bring you to staring at an image of yourself decades prior, if not jittered out of jet lag in the middle seat of purgatory. Her attention to the instrument, to this point, has imbued it with a level of love as she moved (due to intrusive rent costs) around Beirut finishing the recording of her second cassette release. Much of the result is dedicated to Beirut, as much as her family surrounding her and their own enclaves and objects. A brilliant ode to family as much as a deft presentation of beauty.

asmar has not modified her overarching musical orientation: Pauline Oliveros inspired deep listening accordion zones, augmented via a fair licking of pedals and synths. She is a tinkerer first and foremost though, focused on extracting a synth sound, slotting a life recording, or discombobulating a toy music box to affect her own accordion drones, if not create their own isolated worlds. Disconnected from this immediate plane and suggestive of a premonition beyond. That notion of place, especially from the story relayed above, is culled into a crucial sixth sense to this release. asmar’s zones start to evolve over into their own dazzling, patient enclaves.

Track titles convey that, sketching out a stream of conscious logic; a private journal ruminating over itself briefly considering what led it here and whom to thank. Often her accordion drone is one of precocious warmth, only augmented through few elements like voice or bells that point to directions or apparitions outside the space. It’s those fusions the drone is just transcendent and a synth (or music box) burrows underneath, as asmar’s utter simplicity and ear for detail takes over, we find her embellishing her own form of SAW II’s bliss zones–her’s are the kinds that ECM’s New Series regrettably shy away from but feel intrinsically compatible with classic Windham Hill Cosmic Pastoralism. The reverent “from gardens in the city we keep alive”, the highlight is magnitude of different feelings at a magnitude of different volumes, times, and places through chimes, a whistle, and the way a pedal can just make any sound wave into a sunset.

To great measure, this is achieved without ruminating or fussing over the placement of these tracks. Her intuition, or the low stakes of home recording, on the curation gives the tape a real sense of immediacy and familiarity, shifting like the body. It’s a pondering kind of warmth; one that nudges you to consider just why you haven’t watered those poinsettias during a frigid sunrise. Or finds you staring back at yourself decades prior in a mall. The waltz and lament of life finds one naturally, if not eternally, as this tape would argue. And at 5:00 PM with nothing to do, it calls to you as well.

Tape Sold Out at Bandcamp! But Boomkat might still have copies…

Tabs Out | Creatian Heap – Domains

Creatian Heap – Domains

12.7.2023 by Ryan Masteller

Wipe that crud from your lips a second, cyborg mercenary! Take a moment from ingesting that chemically enhanced dietary packet and listen here, because what you’ve heard of Creatian Heap is truly not a myth, I hereby tell you. The duo of Philip (one “l”) T. Walker and JJ Creatian are indeed spinning the tales of your existence, writing your history and your future simultaneously as you struggle in the postapocalyptic landscape in which you find yourself. I get that maybe you’ve been experimented on and cobbled together by the evil corporations who used to run this planet before the great wars, but perhaps they were not the ones you should have been going after and upon whom you should have enacted your vengeance. Seems like a couple of puppet masters are behind the actual curtain, the veil of reality, and you should put aside your petty local squabbles and go after them instead.

Can’t you hear it on the desolate wind?

That’s right, Walker and Creatian have really blown everything out around you, placed you right in the middle of “Planet Dangerous,” which just so happens to be the title of side A, or “Domain 1,” of Domains, their most recent recording for Bummer Punk Records. But let’s not dwell on those details too much lest we’re yanked from the narrative: “Planet Dangerous” was Earth all along! Or something like that. At any rate, the near future finds cybernetically enhanced humans occupying a postindustrial wasteland decimated by disaster. The sound of this wasteland isn’t unusual – it begins with the existential dread and synth pulse not uncommon in a Wolf Eyes track, plodding toward its inevitable tragedy. It blooms a bit, but only in that Tangerine Dream-y way that suggests acid rain – the burny kind – blanketing this neo-futuristic nightmare in sinister arpeggios. And “Debris Field,” aka “Domain 2,” doesn’t even have the courtesy to suggest a way out of this – the grimy downpour is forever, and always!

And that’s what we’re left with – a sad aftermath, with nothing for nourishment except tasteless dietary packets, enhanced by life-maintaining chemicals, with no future.


These red-shelled beauties were dubbed in house and released in an edition of 50. Buy all 50!